Minimalism has taken the world by storm, and with so many people working from home as an aftershock of the pandemic, minimalism has become a welcome alternative to jumbled, paper-cluttered workspaces.

In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about minimalist desks, touching on the benefits of minimalism and sharing ideas to simplify your work area.

What is a minimalist desk?

A minimalist desk is designed to be modern, visually appealing, well-functioning, and equipped with everything you need for work but without clutter.

Minimalist desks typically have a laptop, keyboard, monitor, mouse, and limited decorations or plants visible at all times. Everything else—pencils, notebooks, schedules, paper clips, tape, staplers, documents, etc.—are neatly stashed away in desk drawers or filing cabinets.

A minimalist desk has a monitor, keyboard, mouse, cup for pencils and pens, a little decorations.

Minimalist desk example, Envato
Minimalist desk example

Minimalist desks are modern with ergonomic keyboards, computer screens and mice, and chairs, and typically are neutral in color. The idea is to make the most out of a space with as little as possible.

What are the benefits of a minimalist desk?

Clutter is the antithesis of productivity—for most people anyway.

Office clutter has been linked to employee burnout, decreased job satisfaction, stress, and tension. Not knowing where your files are, losing your pens under stacks of paper, and having the general feeling that you can’t function effectively in your workspace can be overwhelming.

A cluttered desk can cause feelings of stress
A cluttered desk can cause feelings of stress

A minimalist desk can benefit the person working on it in ways that you might be surprised to learn.

1. A minimalist desk can keep you focused and productive

Without mountains of clutter on your desktop, you won’t be as easily distracted while working. Less clutter equals increased productivity.

A minimalist desk will give you the opportunity to focus on your work rather than a messy workspace.

2. A minimalist desk will improve your mood

A messy desk is a recipe for stress. Minimizing the amount of clutter you have on and in your desk can have a decluttering effect on your mind, as well.

Knowing where everything you need is and having a free desktop with plenty of space to work on can reduce stress and improve your overall mood.

3. Minimalist desks can help you stay organized

Minimalist desks are designed to keep all of your work essentials organized—the key word here is essentials.

That means anything that isn’t absolutely necessary must go in order to free up space on your desktop and in your cabinets or drawers.

Having a place for your workday necessities will help you find what you need quickly so you can carry out your tasks efficiently.

How do I make my desk minimalist?

A minimalist desk can mean different things to different people, but generally, you can make your desk minimalist by removing anything that you don’t use and only keeping the bare necessities on your desktop.

Below are some of our favorite ideas and tips for minimalist desks:

1. Consider a standing desk

If you really want to declutter your office space, consider opting for a standing desk.

Standing desk for working at home
Standing desk for working at home

Standing desks provide less room for clutter to accumulate, and if you’re up for it, you can even eliminate the need for a chair, thus freeing up more space in your office.

Standing desks have other benefits besides furthering your goal to minimize. These desks may actually improve your overall health, as sitting for long hours of the day can lead to body pain, obesity, and increased blood pressure.

2. Get rid of anything you don’t use

Old papers, dried-out pens, too many notebooks, a photo album’s worth of family pictures, and anything else you aren’t actively using should be discarded or stored elsewhere in order to create a minimalist desk.

Keep it to the bare minimum and only leave what you need.

3. Go paperless

Going paperless is one of the best ways to make your office space minimalist. Luckily, we live in the 21st Century where a lot of our lives can be digitized. This includes our work life!

Old receipts, important documents, and schedules can all be stored and managed from your computer using specific software.

For example, Shoeboxed is a receipt scanner that allows you to scan your receipts and organize them digitally. This way, you can mail in your old receipts and access them from your phone or computer when you need them (rather than stuffing a boatload of receipts into your desk drawers).

4. Design with “less is more” in mind

You can still have a home office space fit for the cover of Better Homes and Gardens without a jungle of plants on your desk.

A clean workspace with no clutter on the desk
A clean workspace with no clutter on the desk

While we resonate with the obsession you have with your succulents, just having 1 or 2 plants can really free up desk space and make things look tidy.

The same goes for photos and other design elements. Decide what is most important to you and make it the highlighted feature of your new minimalist desk.

5. Experiment with lighting

This tip can be especially fun for a minimalist office. Lighting is an often-overlooked design element that can transform your space.

A well-lit space can help to streamline the look of an office
A well-lit space can help to streamline the look of an office

Minimalist LED lighting under your desk or on the back side of your monitor can improve the look of your desk without adding any extra baggage to your desktop.

LED strip lights for desks come in a range of colors or color-changing options, but for an ultra-minimal appearance, keep the lighting soft white or cool white.

6. Switch to wireless electronics

Let’s face it, wires can be unsightly and add to the clutter.

If you’re wanting to shake things up, try switching to wireless electronics. There are plenty of wireless computers to choose from along with wireless keyboards and computer mice.

Alternatively, you can organize your wires with a backside or under-desk wire organizer.

7. Add drawer organizers

A minimalist desk should be neat inside and out. Drawer organizers can keep your office supplies tidy and within reach.

Check out this minimalist desk setup for more ideas:

Making a minimal space, Shaq Hossain

Final thoughts

A minimalist desk is all the rage in the modern age of working from home and hybrid working. Minimalist desks are excellent organizational tools that can make an office space look nicer, increase workplace productivity, and help to make work more enjoyable.

Hannah DeMoss is a staff writer for Shoeboxed covering organization and digitization tips for small business owners. Her favorite organization hack is labeling everything in her kitchen cabinets, and she can’t live without her mini label maker machine.

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